This past Mother’s Day weekend was probably one of the hardest Mother’s Days I’ve ever had to endure as I watched the tears fall from my mother’s face. My siblings and I were on program to sing for the dinner held at the church, and my brother, because of a heated debate about having to “pay to sing,” left the engagement before it even started. My mother, in a mad scramble, tried to get him to come back, but that attempt failed, and as the program began, my mother sat in her seat, tears rolling from her eyes as if someone had stabbed her in the chest. I thought she was crying because she missed her grandmother, and it made it difficult a little bit to sing “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men watching her bawl. However, we managed (my sister and I) to get through the song without a hiccup, and the program rolled on. It was later that I found out that my mother was crying because she felt as if neither my brother nor myself wanted to really be there to spend time with her, despite the fact that this Mother’s Day Dinner was a church-sponsored event, AND my mother is the “Pastor’s Wife,” making her the undeclared mother to everyone in the church. My heart sank to the center of the Earth, and I’ve had a hard time bringing it back to the surface, because for the first time, my mother, as strong, calculated, and nearly emotion-less as she is with me, demonstrated vulnerability and weakness as it relates to our relationship to her IN THE CHURCH, and it has been bothering my heart ever since.
As a P.K. (Pastor’s Kid), I’ve had to learn how to give my emotions a backseat when my mother and father are in the “roles” of Pastor and Wife at the church. I’m usually the last person to get a hug from my mom, or to be able to talk to her about what I’m going through, or to get an encouraging word from her, or even to say hi, not because she doesn’t want to, but most of the time, she can’t. She’s helping others get through their issues, giving out hugs after service to every single person who has lined up just to say “hi” and “I love you.” She’s going to the hospitals at 2 AM to pray for others, and rallying people together for meetings and prayer and such. And as she is doing all these things, I’m usually just sitting in the background, hoping to get the chance to be like everyone else and say hi not to the “First Lady” or to the “Pastor’s Wife,” but to MY MOTHER. As a result, I’ve learned to shut my emotions toward my mother down while at church or during church functions so that in case I don’t get the chance to speak to my mother on Sunday, or on Wednesday, or on any other day at church, I don’t get crushed. After all, I still get to see her on other days and speak, laugh, have a good time, and all that mushy stuff. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten used to it and learned to enjoy the time I do get to have with her, and to allow others to enjoy the time they have with her, for she’ll always be my mother no matter what.
So whem my sister told me what my mother said about the dinner, I found myself rethinking my position as a son and a P.K. at while at the church, because I truly had gotten past looking at my mother as my mother at church to make room for others to be with my mom as the “First Lady.” I never looked at church being another opportunity to “hang out” with my mama because it never dawned on me that possibly, my mama sees church as a way to hang out with me. I never imagined that maybe being at church, going to church activities, fellowshipping with the saints, and praying together could be my mom’s way of spending time with me, my wife, and my kid. It bothered my spirit because it almost felt like a double edged sword cutting me both ways. When I shut down and treat church functions as church functions, being emotionless as I can be so that my feelings don’t get hurt when I can’t be a son and my mother can’t be my mother, I get gut-checked because my mother wants to spend time with me; but when I want my mother to be my mother at church, I get gut-checked because she’s being a mother to about 2-300 people and does not have time for me.
Being a P.K. is hard sometimes. But I am grateful to God that I do have a mother that I can sing to, and say hi to, and hug every now and then, and talk to, and hang out with. Regardless of the occasion, make the time to be there for the ones you love, as I swallowed my pride and stayed at the dinner and kicked it with my mama for a little while. We never know when we have seen our loved ones for the last time, so make each moment count. Even as a P.K., I’m still a son, my Pastor is still my dad, and his Wife is still my mama. And as long as time allows, I’ll love them with all I have in me, and I’ll wait my turn to be a son while the Pastor and Wife tends to the needs of the people, knowing that at the end of the day, we will always return to each other as family.